By Jessica Militello
As kids started getting back into their school routines in September, members and volunteers for Active Plus gathered to host an event for both adults and elementary middle school kids to raise money and awareness toward their organization’s mission of promoting healthy eating and being physically active.
“#beActivePlus Day” was held on Saturday, September 8, and began at 10am in the Dodge Fitness Center of Columbia University in Manhattan. The morning consisted of adult classes held by two certified personal trainers from Equinox, which featured a high intensity interval class and a core conditioning class. Over 50 adults showed up and paid a suggested donation in order to participate.
From there, the focus of the event transitioned toward 40 students from schools in East Harlem and the Bronx to participate in a basketball clinic, nutrition workshops, fitness activities organized by Equinox trainers, and a salad preparation demo. Adults who showed up for the morning classes helped out with the activities of the event.
Encouraging adults to engage in the event’s activities were an integral trait of showing donor’s what the organization is all about according to Tarik Kitson, Active Plus’ Executive Director.
“Anyone who donated that day or throughout the year had the chance to see who we are, the people that we work with and gave them an opportunity to meet our board of directors and volunteers,” said Kitson. “They saw the quality of our events and the top instructors we work with.”
Despite this being the organization’s first ever “#beActivePlus Day” they were able to garner support from over 30 sponsors including EY, Equinox, Health Ade, HCDC and Harmless Harvest. The organization sought to make a point of seeking out sponsorship from companies that otherwise may not have targeted young boys and girls from Upper Manhattan and the Bronx as their intended audience.
The non-profit organization also intended to make the students they work with familiar with healthier brands of food and beverages and to develop an association when they see these brands so that they may continue to make healthier choices on their own. Ultimately, Active Plus desired to create a lasting memory of a positive experience for students in addition to instilling positive and healthy fitness and nutritional habits.
Another event highlight was the raffle drawing and student awards. The best all around camper award went to a young girl and was awarded a new bicycle.
“#beActivePlus Day” proved to be successful in both its initiative and fundraising. The organization raised approximately $14,500 dollars which will go toward fitness programming during the school year, a new cooking class for the Young Women’s Leadership School in East Harlem, and fitness classes for special needs students in the Bronx.
As for the students who participated in “#beActivePlus Day” were certainly successful in providing an experience that was as memorable as it was exciting.
“This program is fun,” said Kevin, 13. “They got you doing everything; exercise, basketball drills, I’m having a great time.”
Following the success of “#beActivePlus Day,” Active Plus will be teaming up with the Rotary Club of Harlem for their next major event called, “Food for the Soul 2018.” This is a food packaging event that will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Salvation Army Harlem Temple Corps. They have a goal of packaging over 20,000 meals for local Harlem food pantries, surpassing last year’s results of packaging 17,000 meals.